Definition - What does Electronegative mean?

Electronegative refers to the degree of likelihood of an element to receive electrons and become negatively charged in a chemical reaction. More electronegative metals may be coupled with other corrosion-prone metals to reduce the rate of corrosion they experience.

Corrosionpedia explains Electronegative

The formation of electrolytic cells is the basis for rusting or corrosion reactions to take place. It is a chemical system whereby electrical currents are pushed throughout the system. This pushing is based on the degree of electronegativity in the system. The more positive the system, the greater the expulsion of electrons that occurs and vice versa. The process of electrolysis serves as the driving force of the redox reaction toward a fixed direction.

For instance, unprotected iron will rust with water and air due to the electrochemical process. However, steel rods can be protected from the same process by utilizing magnesium rods to offer cathodic protection against corrosion. Steel rods in this case are more electronegative than magnesium.

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